The revolutionary One Belt One Road nexus between Pakistan and China has at its centrefold the groundbreaking China-Pakistan Economic Corridor worth an estimated US$54 billion.
While the corridor that has seen major constructions overtime became partly functional, Chinese cargo began to be transported overland to Gwadar Port last year.
As part of the project, sea ports in Gwadar and Karachi will be connected with northern Pakistan, western China and Central Asia in the coming future.
Building the road has been an arduous task, said Liu Qitao, the chairman of China Communications Construction Group. “We’ve spent decades and 88 Chinese workers have died from natural disasters,” he said.
Kashgar – On China’s western border
An oasis city in China’s Xinjiang region, Kashgar has a history spanning more than 2000 years. The city served as a key trading post along the historical Silk Road.
Unfortunately, Kashgar has been affected by violent attacks, which Beijing blames on separatists and terrorists. The local government has stepped up police patrols and offered financial rewards for tip-offs about violent attacks.
Located in the disputed Valley of Kashmir, the Gilgit-Baltistan stands as a region of conflict.
According to a United Nations’ report, an estimated 1.8 million people live in the region.
The highly mountainous region covers an area of 72,971 sq km. Main activities of the region remain trade and tourism. In 2009, China boosted investment by signing an agreement with Pakistan for a major energy project which included the construction of a 7,000-megawatt hydroelectric dam.
Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad has the highest cost of living of any city, with the city mainly being home to middle and upper-middle class families.
When Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the city in 2015, he pledged to back US$46 billion of energy and infrastructure projects for the country.
Power plants, gas pipelines, optic fibre cables and highways remain some consist of some projects planned along the busy corridor connecting China to the Gulf of Oman.
The second most populous city in Pakistan and the country’s cultural hub, Lahore is all set to be equipped with US$1.6 billion light rail project, established by China and Pakistan – one of the biggest overseas infrastructure projects China is financing.
Karachi enjoys the distinct stature of being Pakistan’s economic hub as well as the largest and most populous city.
Last year, China and Pakistan launched rail and sea freight services linking China’s Yunnan province to Karachi. The new freight line will cut transport costs by more than 50 per cent.
The main element of the China -Pakistan Economic Corridor, Gwadar Port in Balochistan is key to the belt and road initiative.
China Overseas Port Holding Company plans to expand Gwadar Port, constructing nine, new multipurpose berths along 3.2km of seafront to the east of the existing berths.
The project commenced in 2013 when Pakistan awarded the contract for construction and operation to China.
Gwadar Port will provide an alternative shipping route to the Malacca Strait, which is frequently patrolled by the United States. The shipping route from the Middle East to China, via the strait, is about 12,000km long.